Celebrations kick off to mark Shanghai farce's 110th birthday

Seven performances, as well as workshops, training classes and an exhibition, will be presented. The events run until December 10.
Ti Gong

"The Gu Family Nanny," an award-winning play of Suzhou Farce Troupe, kicked off the celebrations yesterday.

To commemorate the 110th anniversary of huajixi, or Shanghai farce, a series of performances and activities were launched at ET Stage yesterday.

The series, which will run until December 10, features seven representative works of China's major farce troupes, as well as workshops, training classes and an exhibition.

"The Gu Family Nanny," an award-winning play of Suzhou Farce Troupe, kicked off the celebrations yesterday. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of a nanny who raises the twin babies of a missing mother. The play received many awards in China, including the national Wenhua Award and Plum Blossom Award.

Shanghai Farce Troupe will present "The Unhurried Emperor and the Impatient Eunuchs," which was warmly received among audiences earlier this year. The hilarious play shows the attitudes of today's young people toward relationship and marriage, which differ a lot from those of their parents.

Wuxi Farce Troupe will stage "The Blue Sky Under the Roof," a heartwarming story about a closely bonded family whose members actually have no blood relationship. The play is based on a true story that happened in Liuhe Town, Jiangsu Province.

Shanghai farce, which originated from Shanghai in the early 20th century, is a vivid performing art form featuring monologue, dialogue, improvisation, mime and traditional opera. In 2011 it was included in the list of the nation's intangible cultural heritage.

Popular in the 1940s-60s and 1980s, Shanghai farce has entertained generations of people in the Yangtze River Delta region. But today, like many other traditional theaters, it is struggling to attract the youngsters.

During the celebrations, artists, scholars and critics from all over the country will host workshops on preserving and innovating the ancient art. Lectures and training classes will be organized for young farce performers and amateurs.

Additionally, an exhibition on the history of Shanghai farce will be held. Photos, props and costumes of classic plays will be displayed. Comedies adapted from well-known farce plays such as "Sanmao Learns Business" and "The New Stories of Du Xiaoxi" will be shown to the public.  

Ti Gong

A scene from Shanghai Farce Troupe's "The Unhurried Emperor and the Impatient Eunuchs" 

Ti Gong

Props used in classic farce plays will be displayed in an exhibition.

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